Employee Burnout: How to Recognize and Prevent the Danger

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Employee burnout is a growing issue in the modern workplace, where fewer employees can accomplish much more work with the help of computerization, the Internet and mobile technology. You, as an employer, must know how to recognize and prevent employee burnout; otherwise, your highly productive employees can be eventually overwhelmed and suffer from the stress of their fast-paced jobs. When you are aware of the possibility of burnout, you are not only addressing the physical and mental health of your employees, but also protecting your business’ most important assets as well as the future success of everyone.

To recognize employee burnout, experts in this field suggest that you look first for less productivity, especially among workers that have excellent productivity track records. Highly productive employees are typically self-motivated, so when their work falls below their usual high standards, burnout may be the cause. You may also notice an increase in arriving late, leaving exactly at the end of the “official” day or asking to leave early. Employees with burnout may also take longer breaks and suddenly be absent more often. There may be other reasons for these changes in employee behavior — personal, family and/or financial problems — so you shouldn’t hesitate to schedule a time to talk with employees to determine the exact causes and help them address their issues or problems.

If you discover that burnout is the culprit, then consider implementing any of the following ideas to help prevent or alleviate the burnout.

  • Rotate or change employees’ work schedules. Track your employees’ productivity throughout the day and ask them when they think they are the most productive. Change their schedule, so the morning people can start early and those, whose energy peak during the afternoon or evening, perform the bulk of their work during those time periods.
  • Implement or expand training opportunities. Not only does this help to break the routine of the workday, but also you benefit from better-trained, newly motivated employees.
  • Remind your employees of the incentives and bonuses they can learn if they maintain a high level of productivity.
  • Energize your employees with a surprise company holiday or employee event outside the workplace.
  • Conduct regular employee evaluations. Praise those employees who are highly productive and provide training and special incentives for those who are falling short.

Address employee burnout before the fire starts and you’ll retain more of your best employees and provide motivation, so the mediocre ones perform better.

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